Television and Radio Criticism

Night School- Anthony R. Mainville


Below is my recommendation of Night School, the comedy film I saw starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish.  Night School was released in theaters nationwide on September 28, 2018 and opened number one at the box office, producing $28M.
Review of Night School
As an individual who has always enjoyed the art of comedy, I could not wait for the release of Night School because it features Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, who I believe are two of the funniest comedians right now.  If you are a fan of Hart, Haddish, or both, then you probably thought that this pairing will create comedic gold. Hart, who starred in Ride Along and Central Intelligence, plays the protagonist in Night School.  Haddish, who received critical acclaim for her breakout performance in Girls Trip, serves as the “voice of reason” in this film. 

Teddy (Hart), a high school dropout who works in a retail store as a barbeque grill salesman in Atlanta and lives above his economic status so he can appear as wealthy as his girlfriend Lisa (Megalyn Eckikunwoke).  Upon finding out that he would inherit the store when his manager retires, Teddy decides to plan a romantic evening with Lisa to celebrate the great news.  However, it is short-lived because Teddy causes an explosion accidentally at the store as he proposes to Lisa.  His manager decides to run away and take the insurance money with him, leaving Teddy unemployed.  Teddy’s best friend Marvin (Ben Schwartz) would love to offer him a position at his financial investment firm, but Teddy must get his GED in order to qualify.  Teddy returns to the same high school he dropped out of seventeen years ago and is surprised to discover that a former classmate, Stewart (Tarn Killam), a nerd Teddy teased daily, is now the principal.  Teddy meets Carrie (Haddish), his night school teacher who will oversee Teddy and a group of students who also want to better their lives once they pass the GED test.

Night School, directed by Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip) and produced by Kevin Hart and Will Packer (Girls Trip, Think Like a Man), has its share of hilarious moments like the gas explosion scene that viewers should anticipate in any typical comedy film.  Despite this, there was no reason for this film to last a ridiculous one hour and fifty-one minutes long.  It is surprising that Night School has a rating of PG-13 due to the amount of vulgar language used throughout the film along with some graphic content.  For example, there is a scene during the beginning of the film when Teddy, Lisa, and a few of their friends are at a high-end restaurant, and Teddy offers to pay the bill.  He volunteers to do so as a way to impress not only Lisa but the other guests.  However, when the waiter brings him the check, he realizes the check costs way more than he thought. So, without anyone looking, he puts some of his pubic hair onto a plate of food in order to accuse the chef of contaminating the food.  This is a prime indicator as to why Night School is not suited for everyone. 

As far as the film’s structure is concerned, the plot resembles what you expect in a sitcom.  Night School might remind those old enough to remember Welcome Back, Kotter  (ABC, 1975-1979).   It is possible that the introduction Teddy and his GED classmates made in the classroom to Carrie could have been the basis for a pilot episode.  Even though Teddy’s ultimate resolution is to pass the GED test, he also needs to see if he can continue keeping the truth from Lisa, who has no knowledge of his former and current educational status.  There wasn’t enough emphasis on Lisa’s suspicions about Teddy’s whereabouts at night and her desire to test Teddy to find out if he truly loves her as his future wife. 

I believe Haddish’s character could have been developed a little deeper.  While Carrie displays a sense of humor through the comedic talents Haddish possesses, especially in scenes with Teddy, she is seen as a very straightforward teacher who wants the best for her students.  If anything, the role of Carrie highlights Haddish’s potential to become a well-rounded actress going forward.  If you are considering seeing Night School in the big screen, please do yourself a favor and save the fourteen dollars or so I spent that didn’t include food and drink.

This page has paths:

This page has tags:

This page references: